The History of Milton - A Brief Overview

Cherokee Indians

The earliest contact between the Cherokee Indians and European explorers occurred in the 16th century. Relations with subsequent European settlers stimulated the development of Cherokee society and culture. The Cherokees established a government and institutions that matched the most civilized cultures of the time.

The rapid influx of settlers led to friction between the two cultures, exacerbated by the discovery of gold in Georgia in 1829.   The state took over the Cherokee lands in 1830 and divided them into ten individual counties and divided the land for white settlers in the 1832 land lottery. Ultimately, thousands of Cherokees were rounded up and in 1838 marched to Oklahoma in what came to be known as the tragic Trail of Tears. 

(Photo provided by Connie Mashburn)

This 1832 Cherokee County land lottery document relates to 40 acre Lot Number 811, Cherokee County.  North Fulton County was then  part of Cherokee County. This lot is near Providence Road, between Freemanville and Birmingham Highway.  Gold had been discovered in Dahlonega and it was thought that nearby land might contain gold.  Lottery officials equated a 40 acre gold lot to a 160 acre land lot. Lottery participants reached into a barrel and pulled out a slip of paper. Those whose selection contained a lot number paid a $10 fee and took possession of the land.

Civil War

(Photo provided by Connie Mashburn)

Private John Rucker. 22nd Regiment Company E  Warsaw Rebels, Forsyth and Milton Counties. Wounded and disabled at Seven Pines, Virginia May 31, 1862.

The Civil War exerted a profound and lasting impact on Milton County.  While some historians believe that Union soldiers never got closer to Milton County than our border with Roswell, some Confederate Military Records in Cumming read “Captured, Milton Co., GA.”

At least three Milton County infantry companies were created during the war and saw action in many battles. Most notable were the Milton County Tigers Company of the 42nd Regiment, the Milton Guards Company of the 38th Regiment and the Warsaw Rebels of the 22nd Regiment.


Milton County suffered approximately 250 casualties, creating a lasting impact on local families and our economy.

Milton County

Milton County was officially created in 1857 from portions of surrounding counties due to the need for a more accessible county seat.  The county was an agricultural area with cotton as its mainstay.  However, boll weevil infestations, droughts and the Great  Depression destroyed its one-crop economy.  Some farmers shifted to other crops and to poultry, but that was not enough to overcome the lack of services and decent infrastructure.  On January 1, 1932, a nearly destitute Milton County was merged into Fulton County.

(Photo provided by Tom Statham)

John Broadwell invented new strains of cotton and sold some himself from his wagon.  His 'double-jointed' cotton produced three bales on one acre in 1911 according to the sign on the wagon.  An illustrative plant is mounted on the rear.

The Hagood Store opened on Bethany Way in 1901. Proprietors were Charles Hagood and John I. Redd. It was a general store with a gasoline operated grist mill. Miss Bunche DeVore, a milliner, made and displayed her hats in the SE corner of the building, Shortly after the store opened, the Fields Crossroads post office was relocated to the store building from its previous location at the intersection of Providence and Bethany roads.  In 1916, Charles Hagood was elected to serve as Milton County’s  representative to the Georgia State Legislature. Mr. Hagood, a portly man, was often referred to as “the biggest merchant in Milton County.”

Buren and Bessie Cowart at their farm house on Birmingham Highway near New Providence Road.  Cotton farmers stored cotton under cover to avoid rain damage.

Fulton County

As part of Fulton County, the region began the process of urbanization.  Paved roads, bridges, churches  and schools altered the landscape and changed the way of life.  New roads became important transportation links between the towns of the Georgia highlands and Atlanta. The area has continued to grow and prosper since then.

(Photo provided by Joyce Walker Samples)

Northwestern Elementary School in the 1980s.

(Photo provided by Burma Tucker Parker)

Providence Baptist Church circa 1940.  Providence was constituted in 1834 and is the oldest church in the City of Milton.

City of Milton

(Photo provided by Burma Tucker Parker)

Composition book belonging to Beulah Tucker, teacher at Summit School on Summit Road in the 1920s. The school was in operation from 1895 through 1931. Beulah was the daughter of Rollin and Julia Tucker of Freemanville Road.

(Photo provided by Ted Savas)

In 2006, the residents voted to create the City of Milton out of unincorporated northwest Fulton County.  The following decade was marked by continued growth and prosperity for the citizens of Milton.  At the same time the city has retained its historic rural character, which represents a coveted and attractive  balance between small-town life and the convenience of nearby urban areas.

Those were the days…

(Photo provided by Carlos Bagwell)

Burgess Sawmill on Francis Road east of the Cogburn, Hopewell and Francis roads roundabout. Circa 1910.

(Photo provided by Clayton Cameracraft

and Sonny Wright)

Cochran Brick Works on Freemanville Road near Lewis Road in the 1910s     

(Photo provided by Bryon Burgess)

Toledo and Estelle Wright Burgess. Toledo was the first school bus driver in what is now city of Milton after Fulton merger in 1932. The rock house stood at the SE corner of Birmingham and Freemanville roads - 1930s. 

(Photo provided by Jay Burgess)

Milton High Band - 1954

(Photo provided by Connie Mashburn)

Homer Cowart at his family's farm on Cowart Road - 1910

Photo provided by Colemand Reese)

Courting couple, Myran Adena Payne and Abner Cook. They later married and lived on Thompson Road, not far from Redd Road.

(Photo provided by Linda Tucker Martin)

Successful turtle hunt with Tucker, Reese, Westbrook, Spence and Collett family members - 1950s. Turtle “boils” were often held on the Fourth of July in Milton communities, especially in Crabapple and Fields Crossroads. Turtles were plentiful along the banks of the Cooper Sandy and Chicken Creeks. The turtles were boiled in large cast iron pots. On Mondays the pots were used for washing clothes.

Milton Historical Society

Proud Member of AASHL

Mailing Address:

12460 Crabapple Road, Suite 202-509

Milton, GA 30004

Headquarters Street Address  - PLEASE DO not send mail to this address

12670 Crabapple Road, Suite 105, Milton, GA 30004